Fresh warnings over retail risk to town centre

Oxford Mail: Sandy Lovatt Sandy Lovatt

OUT-of-town retail is “decimating” town centre trade in Abingdon, a former Vale of White Horse district councillor has warned.

A new Giraffe restaurant seating 134 people opened at Tesco on Marcham Road last week.

Fairacres Retail Park also aims to open a B&M store selling food and clothing.

This would go against a deal with Vale of White Horse District Council forbidding sale of food and drink there in order to “ensure the viability of Abingdon town centre”, although the trading estate now features an outlet for food chain Subway.

Former borough and district councillor Mike Matthews, of Oxford Road, said: “Those out-of-town shops have already decimated the town centre.

“Where would you buy an electric light bulb in town these days? We have to encourage people back into the centre.”

The Giraffe restaurant at Tesco, which will employ 50 staff, was given planning permission in October.

Abingdon Town Council leader Sandy Lovatt was not worried about the effect on the town centre. He said: “There has always been a restaurant there. Giraffe has just taken it over.”

In order to open a new B&M home store, Fairacres owners, Mays Properties, have had to apply to Vale of White Horse District Council for a “change of use” at the unit.

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The “ancillary ranges” at the shop – food, drink, clothes and cosmetics – would generate an estimated £1.4m a year.

The unit at Fairacres has been empty since Home Store & More closed last year.

Fairacres says B&M is the only firm interested in the unit. Vale council will decide on the plans on December 18.

Comments (11)

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9:35am Tue 10 Dec 13

Gunslinger says...

You can't put the clock back, or 'make' people shop where it is not convenient for them to do so. This problem is not unique to Abingdon, and is common to town centres throughout the country, as several recent reports have shown.

The 'solutions' are to diversify the retail offer, introduce more leisure and other uses, and possibly develop the tourism and heritage aspects much more.

Abingdon is too close to Oxford to be a major retail destination in its own right; comparisons should perhaps be made with Henley which is identically situated in relation to Reading.
You can't put the clock back, or 'make' people shop where it is not convenient for them to do so. This problem is not unique to Abingdon, and is common to town centres throughout the country, as several recent reports have shown. The 'solutions' are to diversify the retail offer, introduce more leisure and other uses, and possibly develop the tourism and heritage aspects much more. Abingdon is too close to Oxford to be a major retail destination in its own right; comparisons should perhaps be made with Henley which is identically situated in relation to Reading. Gunslinger

11:06am Tue 10 Dec 13

colbart says...

I don't think things will help much when stage 2 of the Abingdon precinct 'refurb/redevelopmen
t' will help much. Demolish the Charters to build an 'anchor' supermarket...If it is a Morrisons for instance, their 'Market' will bring in more competition to Greggs and the other Pastry shop opposite. Will it be larger than Waitrose, or Co-Op stores ?.

If it opens up Fairacres to B&M, then will it open it up to competition. (I know Lidl and Aldi had put in bids to open there, in the past).
I don't think things will help much when stage 2 of the Abingdon precinct 'refurb/redevelopmen t' will help much. Demolish the Charters to build an 'anchor' supermarket...If it is a Morrisons for instance, their 'Market' will bring in more competition to Greggs and the other Pastry shop opposite. Will it be larger than Waitrose, or Co-Op stores ?. If it opens up Fairacres to B&M, then will it open it up to competition. (I know Lidl and Aldi had put in bids to open there, in the past). colbart

11:30am Tue 10 Dec 13

icba1957 says...

The biggest "danger" to the town centre is the Town Council and Chamber of Commerce. They have still failed to let one of the big units in the refurbished precinct, allowed New Look to simply move from one side to the other and generally sat on their hands while patting themselves on the back (try it some time!)
If they're going to wait for a "major retialer" to approach them, I wouldn't hold my breath until the unit's occupied.
The biggest "danger" to the town centre is the Town Council and Chamber of Commerce. They have still failed to let one of the big units in the refurbished precinct, allowed New Look to simply move from one side to the other and generally sat on their hands while patting themselves on the back (try it some time!) If they're going to wait for a "major retialer" to approach them, I wouldn't hold my breath until the unit's occupied. icba1957

12:57pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Essentially, Abingdon needs a southern bypass.

When you've regularly spent so much time sitting in traffic to pass through the town - it's hardly going to be a regular destination for shopping.

As to the quote:- "Where would you buy an electric light bulb in town these days?”

Coop, Waitrose or the local SPO?
Essentially, Abingdon needs a southern bypass. When you've regularly spent so much time sitting in traffic to pass through the town - it's hardly going to be a regular destination for shopping. As to the quote:- "Where would you buy an electric light bulb in town these days?” Coop, Waitrose or the local SPO? Andrew:Oxford

1:39pm Tue 10 Dec 13

sweetchocolate says...

Guys could you post your comments here? we have been saying this for ages, the council read this blog, your views are exactly what we need.

I am an independant shop owner in Abingdon who will sadly be closing in Jan 2014

http://www.abingdonb
log.co.uk/?p=10270&c
page=1#comment-66966
9
Guys could you post your comments here? we have been saying this for ages, the council read this blog, your views are exactly what we need. I am an independant shop owner in Abingdon who will sadly be closing in Jan 2014 http://www.abingdonb log.co.uk/?p=10270&c page=1#comment-66966 9 sweetchocolate

1:47pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Anon Coward says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Essentially, Abingdon needs a southern bypass.

When you've regularly spent so much time sitting in traffic to pass through the town - it's hardly going to be a regular destination for shopping.

As to the quote:- "Where would you buy an electric light bulb in town these days?”

Coop, Waitrose or the local SPO?
It doesn't need a southern bypass, it needs the diamond interchange to be opened at the north..
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Essentially, Abingdon needs a southern bypass. When you've regularly spent so much time sitting in traffic to pass through the town - it's hardly going to be a regular destination for shopping. As to the quote:- "Where would you buy an electric light bulb in town these days?” Coop, Waitrose or the local SPO?[/p][/quote]It doesn't need a southern bypass, it needs the diamond interchange to be opened at the north.. Anon Coward

6:08pm Tue 10 Dec 13

doozer says...

....you can buy light bulbs in Poundland and also Lewis Baker in Abingdon town centre. Both Co-Ops sell them and Slightly (and ONLY slightly) further up Ock Street, Knights will also sell light bulbs....
....you can buy light bulbs in Poundland and also Lewis Baker in Abingdon town centre. Both Co-Ops sell them and Slightly (and ONLY slightly) further up Ock Street, Knights will also sell light bulbs.... doozer

9:31pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Pseudocream says...

Doozer

A good list , but the era question is could this ex Councillor change a lightbulb ? Or were his dopey comments taken out of context by the reporter ? Personally I buy 'used' bargain lightbulbs from eBay in bulk but unfotunately the packaging is not always up to the job !
Doozer A good list , but the era question is could this ex Councillor change a lightbulb ? Or were his dopey comments taken out of context by the reporter ? Personally I buy 'used' bargain lightbulbs from eBay in bulk but unfotunately the packaging is not always up to the job ! Pseudocream

11:40pm Tue 10 Dec 13

shawhouse18 says...

Great to see B&M in Abingdon...do not care if it is on Fairacres or town centre.
Great to see B&M in Abingdon...do not care if it is on Fairacres or town centre. shawhouse18

3:16pm Wed 11 Dec 13

colbart says...

Sweet Chocolate closing in January 2014. Real shame....I know you
have been open Saturdays...

What is it with the 'thumbs up-down' voting.!!!
Sweet Chocolate closing in January 2014. Real shame....I know you have been open Saturdays... What is it with the 'thumbs up-down' voting.!!! colbart

9:56am Thu 12 Dec 13

colbart says...

New Look are on the single floor of the new development.

Floors above still vacant??.
New Look are on the single floor of the new development. Floors above still vacant??. colbart

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